National predictions: Analysts split on Dallas Cowboys winning NFC East in 2021

by 24USATVSept. 9, 2021, 5 p.m. 17
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Last season left a lot to be desired in Dallas.

An injury to Dak Prescott and a porous defense led to a disappointing 6-10 record for head coach Mike McCarthy in his first season with the Cowboys.

But just like every team in the NFL, hope springs eternal in Week 1. And the Cowboys have an opportunity to start the 2021 season with a great first step if they can dethrone the defending champion Buccaneers on Thursday night in Tampa.

After that, there’s 16 more games on the schedule as the league expands its regular season to 17 matchups for the first time.

Here’s a look at how some national analysts are predicting the Cowboys’ season:

In a survey, the Dallas Cowboys were selected to win the NFC East by four of nine staff members polled. However, none chose the Cowboys to win the NFC.

Other notes: Dak Prescott was voted Comeback Player of the Year; Micah Parsons was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year

NFL writer John Clayton selected the Dallas Cowboys to win the NFC East and be the No. 4 seed in the NFC, but did not see Dallas advancing to the conference title game.

Clayton: “Dak Prescott is back, and that’s enough to make the Cowboys the favorite in the NFC East. They are loaded at wide receiver with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, and running back Ezekiel Elliott is said to be in the best shape of his career. Plus, the Cowboys have the second-easiest schedule in the NFL, with only six games against teams that were .500 or better last year.”

In a survey, the Dallas Cowboys were selected to win the NFC East by two of eight staff members polled and one staff member selected Dallas as a wild card. All three predictions had the Cowboys losing in the first round of the playoffs, twice to San Francisco and once to Green Bay.

Other notes: Four selected Dak Prescott to win Comeback Player of the Year; Two selected Micah Parsons to win Defensive Rookie of the Year

In a survey, the Dallas Cowboys were not selected by any staff member to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.

Other notes: Dak Prescott was picked as Bleacher Report’s Comeback Player of the Year and received votes in the Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year category; Micah Parsons received votes for Defensive Rookie of the Year; CeeDee Lamb received votes for Breakout Player of the Year

John Breech selected the Washington Football Team to repeat as NFC East champs with a 9-8 record. He projected Dallas to finish second at 8-9 and miss the playoffs.

Vinnie Iyer said the Cowboys will win the NFC East with a 10-7 record, but picked the Los Angeles Rams (as a wild card) to defeat Dallas (as the No. 4 seed) in the first round of the postseason.

Iyer: “The Cowboys have the considerable QB advantage in the division with a healthy Dak Prescott and they should score their way back above .500 to steal the division. The defense will have its issues coming through for new coordinator Dan Quinn, but youngsters such as Micah Parsons and Trevon Diggs can make it respectable.”

Find more Cowboys coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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